Intermediate Microeconomics with Excel

Workshop: Teaching Economics with Excel

This workshop was held from June 16 - 18, 2010. The original description and schedule are below, after a few comments from participants and photos.


Juan DeLaCruz CUNY -- Lehman
Mine Aysen Doyran CUNY -- Lehman
James Bruehler Eastern Illinois University
David P. Franck Francis Marion
Kotaro Yoshida Albion
Robert Main Butler
Jennifer VanGilder  Ursinus
Heather O'Neill Ursinus
Arindam Mandal Siena
Ka-fu Wong University of Hong Kong

A Few Comments and Feedback

"This eye-opening workshop demonstrated to us how Excel can be used
to teach Economics effectively.  Bert's pre-written Excel exercises
greatly reduce our cost of using this pedagogical tool.  His
demonstration greatly reduces our anxiety of using the new tool.  I
would recommend the tool and the workshop to anyone of similar
interest." Ka-fu

"This was seriously the best and most useful workshop I have been to
in a very long time. You went blazingly fast, but even at that rate,
I found at least a half dozen very very useful ideas, etc. Solver, CS Wiz
and all the micro stuff are definites. Monte carlo (knew the idea,
hadn't ever done it) went by a bit quick for me, but that was due to my inexperience.
The regression in excel, I have done before (albiet in an even more brute fashion).
The Visual Basic stuff was a bit lost, but this was still useful as an overview of
'this is what this is.'
The second day was the strongest for me. Obviously, from a comfort level,
virtually every economist should get this (even an out of date admin economist).
Actually, and this may be a surprise, but it was easier for me to start on day two,
go back to day one then focus MC sim the third day with a bit of VBS as you pull
back the curtain.
Thank you for pulling this off. As a host and as a professor, I found this outstanding." David

"I thank you so much for the excellent workshop that you ran and provided to us.
About the content, I cannot imagine a better workshop than what you did. 
I may have a better background to understand what you had to present, but I still learned
great new things such as how to run MC, use add-ins, CS Wizard, Visual Basic, etc.
I think I was able to follow more than 90 percent of what you were going through. 
You were ambitious to cover both theory and metrics in a three-day period. There is a trade-off
between how fast you can go and how much you can cover. I happened to like faster and larger
coverage, the way you did it.
I don't necessarily think that you went too fast--you were slow at the beginning and took off. 
This was really a fantastic workshop. Thanks for the great learning experience!" Kotaro

"Bert's Teaching Economics with Excel workshop is extremely useful.
Pedagogically it is a very effective tool to teach economics and to engage
students in the classroom. . . . Thanks for everything. It’s been a wonderful workshop.
Many thanks to Bert, but also thanks to all of you for making it so productive.
It’s been a huge learning experience for me." Arindam

"I wanted to thank you for a truly excellent workshop.  I can't believe how much
knowledge I am coming away with.  I hope that if you do decide to do this workshop
again that you don't make to many changes.  I really think that the material that
you covered is all really important." Jenn

"Just wanted to say "Thanks!" to Bert and all my fellow participants for
making "Teaching Economics with Excel" a great experience.  It was a delight
and I thank you all." Jim

"An excellent workshop. I hope we stay in touch to lean on each other when
we screw up and share the good news when we embark on good journeys.
I'm excited to revamp my managerial econ course this summer! Thanks to all,
but most of all to our gracious, unselfish host, Bert." Heather

" Thanks to Bert again, and you guys, for making this workshop a useful experience!!
I enjoyed it a lot. I will also use some of the files that Bert showed us.
It was a pleasure and I thank you all." Mine

I also want to add my thanks for a great workshop.  Bob

"I am grateful with Bert and the whole gang who participated in the workshop
for such a marvelous academic experience. " Juan


Group Picture

Photos above are courtesy of Ka-fu Wong, below are from Mine Aysen Doyran.

Workshop: Teaching Economics with Excel

June 16 - 18, 2010

DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana



While the content of the typical undergraduate Intermediate Microeconomics course has remained stable in recent decades, computers have become more powerful, easier to use, and as common as pencil and paper.  In spite of these developments, teaching methods remain virtually unchanged, with chalk and talk the dominant mode of delivery. This workshop will demonstrate how to utilize computer-based, active learning techniques to teach economics, focusing especially on Intermediate Micro.  By providing real, concrete examples with clear visual feedback, students learn much more economics and acquire sophisticated computer skills.

We will begin with an Excel version of Maddison’s World Economy data, which enables interesting cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons of countries, and then examine a set of 14 Excel-based labs for Introductory Economics. Focus then shifts to the main pedagogical theme of the workshop: using numerical methods to complement conventional, analytical approaches enables much deeper comprehension. Excel’s optimization add-in, Solver, is introduced, followed by the Comparative Statics Wizard. The second day uses Barreto’s Intermediate Microeconomics with Microsoft Excel (Cambridge University Press, 2009) to demonstrate a series of Excel workbooks covering the Theory of Consumer Behavior, the Theory of the Firm, partial equilibrium supply and demand analysis, and general equilibrium. Monte Carlo simulation and regression add-ins, followed by an introduction to Visual Basic (Excel’s macro language) are the topics for the last day, which concludes with a discussion of teaching techniques and strategies.

Workshop sessions will be held in a computer lab in DePauw’s Julian Science Center.  Participants will learn how to teach with macro-enhanced Excel files in a projection display lecture style and in computer lab environments. A traditional course can be spiced up by occasional use of Excel-based content as examples or homework assignments. This professional development will enable participants to create new course materials and content. Individual lectures, lab components, or entire courses can be reworked and enhanced.

In addition to Barreto’s Intermediate Microeconomics with Microsoft Excel text and files, participants will receive a set of Excel-based computer labs for Introductory Economics along with add-ins for simulation and econometric analyses in Excel. 

Dr. Barreto is interested in using computers (especially Microsoft Excel) to improve the teaching and learning of economics.  He is the Elizabeth P. Allen Distinguished University Professor at DePauw University and author, with Frank M. Howland, of Introductory Econometrics using Monte Carlo Simulation with Microsoft Excel(Cambridge University Press, 2006).He has been a Fulbright Scholar, won several teaching awards, and has presented the materials used in this workshop at many colleges and universities around the world. 

There is no fee to attend the workshop and all meals and lodging are provided by the generous support of the Elizabeth P. Allen funds at DePauw University.  Participants are responsible solely for transportation costs. Space is limited.


Schedule Image

Express Interest

Email if you have questions or would like further information.